“Writing gives me great feelings of pleasure. There’s a marvelous sense of mastery that comes with writing a sentence that sounds exactly as you want it to. It’s like trying to write a song, making tiny tweaks, reading it out loud, shifting things to make it sound a certain way. It’s very physical. I get antsy. I jiggle my feet a lot, get up a lot, tap my fingers on the keyboard, check my e-mail. Sometimes it feels like digging out of a hole, but sometimes it feels like flying. When it’s working and the rhythm’s there, it does feel like magic to me.” Susan Orlean on why she writes.
Caitlin Flanagan's long Atlantic piece on Joan Didion has sparked a lot of conversation. Among the article's contentious lines: "to really love Joan Didion ... you have to be female."
The Toast announced their first vertical this week, and even better than its name (The Butter, of course) is its editor - Roxane Gay, darling of the literary internet and author of Bad Feminist and An Untamed State. In answer to the question "What will this particular vertical be like?" Toast editor Mallory Ortberg said "WHATEVER ROXANE WANTS IT TO BE," so we have a lot to look forward to. Pair with The Millions's review of An Untamed State and Gay's 2013 "A Year in Reading."
Out this week: Black Glass by Karen Joy Fowler; The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera; The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler; The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George; The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango; Tradition by Daniel Khalastchi; and Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Joe Kubert died this week at the age of 85. Perhaps best known as the DC comics legend responsible for such characters as Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, Enemy Ace, and Tor, Kubert was also the founder of The Kubert School, the only accredited trade school for comic book artists in the country. You can check out a video of Kubert talking about digital comics over here.
Recommended Reading: Carl Wilson on short books and “too long; didn’t read” syndrome.